At Hansa Cequity, we believe successful enterprises of tomorrow will be the ones who can organize and leverage customer information at speed , to optimize their marketing performance, increase accountability, improve profit and deliver growth. Hansa Cequity insights will bring to you trends and insights in this area and it's our way of sharing best practices so as to help you accelerate this culture and thinking in your organization. We call this kind of an approach Analytical Marketing and we will constantly bring in "best practices" for improving your capabilities in Analytical Marketing.

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Marketing is sexy & Tech is oh so boring!


NASSCOM in India is talking about CMO’s & their technology spends. So you know that change is in the air. Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMO’s will spend more than CIO’s in technology. Marketers are investing a fair amount in digital & that is creating the interest for the IT companies. And Marketing is capturing huge amounts of data now & is beginning to build capability in analytics to be able to make sense of this data.

So they now need to manage this data & use it effectively. NASSCOM estimates that US$37 billion worth of CMO opportunities will be created In India by 2020. But how well do marketers understand IT. Marketers are turned on by “innovation & change “while the typical IT person is turned on by “reliability & continuity”. This is why IT has words in their lexicon like “Change control” & marketers look at stuff like this with scorn.And yet Marketing now has access to literally 1000's of vendors who can provide technology that helps improve customer experience or extract valuable insight or automate their marketing.So even if Marketing is sexy & technology is very boring, marketers need to deal with this flood of geeky stuff coming their way.

Scott Brinker has this wonderful graphic that shows the landscape of Marketing technology

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So how do you bridge this gap between the CMO & CIO? By bringing in a senior technology person within the Marketing team. Analysts at both Forrester Research and Gartner have independently advocated for this senior level position. Forrester calls it the “marketing technology office.”

marketing technology office

Gartner refers to it as a chief marketing technologist. Within large companies — more than $500 million in annual revenue — 70% of them now have a chief marketing technologist role (source: Gartner)

marketing technologist

Few companies have taken this even further. At Marriott, the CIO now reports to the CMO. At Motorola Solutions, a single person is the senior vice president of marketing and IT.

Or maybe the solution is not as radical & in fact the magic lies in collaborating with the CIO & finding common ground.

Big accountability & analytics


Last year, in a discussion with INSEAD students, I wondered why more companies are not using analytics to make decisions. I saw the Banking world as having adopted analytics but for many other businesses analytics still was about “sexy insight” & not a “better decision”.

Michael Schrage has this interesting comment: “The emerging cultural challenge for leadership is whether analytics-driven accountability cuts both ways. Are business unit leaders and top executives using analytics to make themselves more transparent and accountable? Should “accountability analytics” be internally branded as a something “shared” rather than “imposed?”

 Making Analytics sexy doesn’t make it easier to implement! And this is where the challenge lies in Analytics. Striking headlines make for easy copy but don’t do wonders for executing analytic intent within a corporation.

Amidst all the hype about Big data, the reality that many organizations grapple with is change management: can they can manage the human and process changes necessary to make the most of their analytics initiatives.

I wrote about this here:

Analytics doesn’t need you to solve a technical problem but a “social” one. Embedding analytics into the fabric of the company is critical. How do you demystify it & how do you link it to practical stuff. This is where there exists a huge "Execution gap". Companies need to focus on this to get results out of their Analytics initiatives.

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Start with a decision in mind & work backwards, not with the data in mind & working forward. Link Analytics to “the last mile”.Analytics should not be expected to deliver a “Aha moment”-instead it is a factory approach to improved decisions

So analytics is not a planning tool as much as it is an Execution tool.

Are our Analytics teams equipped to do this? Most people in Analytics don’t come with a lot of experience across many other functions: Marketing, Sales, and Manufacturing etc. So how much do they really know about Real life decision making? Do they want to know?Does it not make Analytics far more accountable. Should we not be talking about Big accountability & not Big data?

WhatsApp unlocks $19 billion of Customer Equity!


Global carriers lost a combined $32 billion in revenue last year as consumers shifted from costly text messages to cheap Internet messaging services, according to the research firm Ovum.

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Facebook has acquired WhatsApp for $19B; WhatsApp’s 419 million users average 27B sent messages a day and 70% of them use it daily; 70% of WhatsApp users use the service every day, compared with only 61% for Facebook.WhatsApp claims to have 20 million million monthly active users in India.

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And there are 1 million new users joining each day across the world. WhatsApp refers to 10 billion inbound sent messages and 17 billion outbound received messages on a daily basis. And yet they don’t capture a lot of data that can power analytics. Maybe Facebook will begin to change that!

Google paid $1.65B for YouTube’s ~70 million users in October 2006 (~$24 per user) and Facebook acquired Instagram’s ~30 mn users for $1B in April 2012 (~$33 per user). At $19B, WhatsApp’s 450 million users are being acquired for about $42 per user. Yahoo paid $1.1B for Tumblr’s 300 mn users in May 2013, or ~$3 per user. (Source: Dan Soloman)

So absolutely no correlation between what you pay per user & widely disparate punts seem to be taken by every player. But clearly Facebook is looking at Customer Lifetime value & WhatsApp has unlocked its Customer equity!!

Implications for Marketers:

  1. WhatsApp's success appears to signal a shift in social networking, from networking with big and open social networks to networking with closed groups.
  2. From Power brands to Power customers: This will continue to put pressure on Brands to engage with their consumers in personal dialogue & not a 30 sec “monologue”. 8 in 10 consumers digitally engage with brands, while one-quarter are "brand connected consumers" (BCCs) who both post to and about brands online at least once a week, according to a new survey by JWT, OgilvyAction and EXPO. These BCCs use social media sites more frequently than the average consumer, and they expect their online voices to be heard. With Facebook, there may be a way for brands to connect Fans with Whats APP, if that happens, it becomes another vehicle for driving conversations between brands & individual consumers
  3. Serving the Bottom of the pyramid: lower income strata are bigger users of WhatsApp so it would be interesting to see it unfold in India & elsewhere. Though it needs a smart phone to access!!
  4. Push towards more analytics: Facebook owns personal data in ways that others cannot possibly imagine, and now it has access to literally billions of conversations, images, and video. WhatsApp does not require a lengthy sign-up or sign-in process, but Facebook will now have access to every single address book, every personal conversation between parties. They’ll be able to study emerging markets in ways that Google cannot and for the near future, will own most of "what we know about ourselves".
  5. Connecting messaging to commerce: While Whats App has been very true to its vision of having "no gimmicks". Competitor, WeChat, started monetising from stickers, games and in-app payments last year.
 It is now not just a messaging app but a mobile wallet. Over Chinese New Year, WeChat started a ‘virtual angpow’ campaign, with a gaming option for people to send money to friends. The results were reportedly phenomenal, between the evening until 4PM on the first day of Chinese New Year, a total of 75 million virtual angpows were transacted across more than 5 million users. What this means is that WeChat has linked more users’ bank accounts to its profile. This is awesome & I can just imagine similar stuff at Diwali in India

The data handshake


Data's value increases when it's shared and many companies are now making money by selling it.

Sharing data allows marketers to better understand who their best customers are, which consumers they should market to, and with what specific offers.

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With their Android and iOS mobile operating systems, respectively, Google and Apple know the location of every customer's Wi-Fi-enabled phone—far more location data than any other company could access. The Silicon Valley giants aren't allowing access to such data by outsiders as yet.

But Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all commercialized the data they possess on customers' purchasing habits. The information, which is hugely valuable to advertisers looking to target specific demographics with digital ads, is sold to advertisers at high premiums.

What about more traditional industries & companies?

  1. E commerce players have a far richer & laser sharp profile of their customers. Traditional retailers have struggled to get such a clear view of their customers & have been attempting new forms of collaboration including coalition programs to try & get a more complete view of their customer profiles. Examples of such collaboration include, Payback (Germany,Poland, India and Mexico)Nectar (UK,Chile and Italy), Kooperative FörbundetKF (CooperativeFederation) in Sweden, FlyBuys in Australia and New Zeeland.
  2. Banks have in fact leveraged data sharing the most on the "credit side", with credit bureaus. But do we see banks share data with other companies from a marketing perspective? Barclays apparently plans to sell customer data. The Bank plans to start selling information on Customer spending habits to other companies. Barclays said the data would be aggregated to show trends and individuals would not be identifiable. Have a look at this:
  3. In response to downward pressure on revenues and margins, mobile operators around the world have been considering revenue opportunities in areas adjacent to their core businesses, such as mobile advertising! Telecom companies have built retail relationships with millions of customers. According to estimates, there are now more than 3 billion unique mobile users in the world, and more than 6 billion mobile subscriptions. And they have access to a huge amount of customer data, including personal profile data; network data such as location and travel patterns; data from value added services such as mobile content consumption, email and social media usage, app usage, as well as financial information such as monthly phone spend

“Data monetisation” is an umbrella term which covers the additional revenue that an operator can generate from the information it holds on its customers

Telefonica allows retailers to measure footfall in their stores, based on trends extrapolated from anonymised and aggregated mobile network data from Telefónica's customers

See more at:


Some thoughts:

  • Gartner Predicts 30 Percent of Businesses Will Be Monetizing Their Information Assets Directly by 2016. It may be useful for you to think about how your company can leverage this trend? Most commonly, analytics professionals share data with sales partners, which help in two ways:
    •  The data you receive in return adds valuable marketing perspective that you probably can't get on your own
    • Sharing data helps transform your channel relationships from transactional into long-term partnerships, which can fend off price competition and open doors to other co-marketing activities.
  • The financial demands of storing and managing big data will lead 30 percent of businesses to directly or indirectly monetize their information assets by trading, bartering or outright selling them by 2016, according to Gartner.
  • But Companies that want to unlock the value in data need to be able to demonstrate that they can do it in a way that preserves privacy.






Who owns your brand's data? My data, your data....our Data!!


Very few industries share data. At some level, every industry measures results and tests products, offers and media.

Few companies cover an entire market segment vertically. Most sell only a specialised set of related products. The sellers of related products would do well to share information with one another.

Few industries, however, are willing to share customer data for the common good.

But there is a huge amount of common data that is now available. The rise of the ‘like’ economy has led to a huge surge in information. Thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and internet gate-keepers such as Google, digital marketers are able to tap into a treasure trove of consumer affiliations. All the data about your brands being left by consumers as “digital exhaust” is out there for all to analyse.

Facebook controls the most “like” data, recording more than 80 billion per month at last check. But Twitter records more “talking” than anyone else (1.5 billion tweets per month); Amazon collects the most reviews (well over 6 million per month); and Google’s YouTube and Google Display Network have data on how a billion people prefer to spend their time.

The future of brand advertising, hinges on the effective monitoring of social behaviours, believes research agency Forrester. Such behaviours reveal long-term emotional drivers, as opposed to search behaviour, which reveals shorter-term, rational clues. A new research group within Facebook, is working on an emerging and powerful approach to artificial intelligence known as deep learning, which uses simulated networks of brain cells to process data. Applying this method to data shared on Facebook could allow for novel features and perhaps boost the company’s ad targeting.

As companies do a better job of capturing accurate transaction information, they build a valuable asset not only for themselves, but also for other marketers. Savvy marketers are looking for partners with whom they can trade their data. Data's value increases when it's shared, and you can make money by selling it.

Sharing data increases its value by reinforcing crucial relationships in the business ecosystem.

1.    The data you receive in return adds valuable marketing perspective that you probably can't get on your own.

2.     Sharing data helps transform your channel relationships from transactional into long-term partnerships, which can fend off price competition and open doors to other co-marketing activities.

Twitter, which went public recently, made $47m of its total $422m revenue from sales of its data over the past nine months, an increase of 36 per cent from the same period the year before.

EBay now enables advertisers to use the data about how visitors browse the site, what they buy, and more, which the company kept as proprietary until now, to target ads and increase return on investment. Even though personally identifiable information won’t be provided to advertisers, eBay visitors’ search and purchase data alone could be a goldmine to consumer product brands. Suddenly, brands have an exponentially greater ability to get the right ads in front of the right audiences. In other words, eBay (like Amazon before it) is monetizing its customer data by allowing advertisers to retarget the eBay audience. Ads must be purchased through eBay in order for brands to access this customer data, and eBay will handle its own ad buying as well as the ad buying for all of the third-party marketers accessing its data.

Forrester has dubbed this social, emotional data the ‘database of affinity.’ With all of this information comes the incredible power of accurate brand advertising, but actually wading through the dense and what now appears to be endless amounts of data will be the greatest challenge.

database of affinity 2 resized 600


And Forrester says, surprisingly, that Google is better positioned to leverage this "database of affinity" than Facebook!!

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So what does this mean for Marketers?

  1. 1.    How are you monetising your data? Think about the value that it can add, not just the revenue? Remember "Data equity" is likely to become more powerful than even "Brand equity" in the years to come.

  2. How are you getting all this social data together into one platform for your brand teams to analyse?
  3. You don’t own this data & the Facebook’s & Linked In’s of the world own it. So how are you creating a Social CRM strategy that allows you to directly engage with customers & own that data. Important for brands to add in data capture forms into their promotions to help build out data they need for a Social CRM strategy. If you don't ask, you don't get and you don't own. That's the reality of social media marketing.
  4. And how are you linking social with the rest of your CRM efforts? Do you have a “one View” of CRM?


HeHere is an interesting article on Forrester’s definition of the “Database of affinity”


The Great Indian Crab syndrome-part 2


As I write this, the coming New Year seems to be starting with Loyalty One’s India operations closing down. LoyaltyOne is an Alliance Data Systems Corporation (NYSE: ADS) company. Alliance Data is a leading provider of marketing-driven credit solutions, and is the parent company of Epsilon®, a leading provider of multi-channel, data-driven technologies and marketing services, and LoyaltyOne™, which owns and operates the AIR MILES® Reward Program, Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program.

So what happened? Why has it been so hard for Coalition loyalty companies in India? There have been attempts earlier by Venture InfoTech & by Tata’s but none have been able to cross the rubicon! I Mint has been the first Coalition loyalty program in India & its success has been muted. Payback later acquired I Mint. ICICI bank supported this initiative & it did give the program the numbers that are needed for rapid market penetration. Does Coalition loyalty work in India? Will marketers cooperate & align together or will multiple program partner interests be too complex to manage. Or will the Indian crab syndrome come in the way! It is said that Indian crabs, if left in a basket, are never able to escape. Each time one crab tries to get out of the basket another one would pull him down! This is the Indian crab syndrome! I wrote about this earlier & I feel the points need reinforcement.

  1. I feel that the following need to be considered in India for Coalition loyalty to be successful: India is a very heterogeneous market. Coalition loyalty has worked well in strongly homogenous markets like Canada, UK or Germany. Fragmented consumers are like a jigsaw & coalition loyalty has to be thought through differently to service markets like India. Much more innovation needs to drive both the consumer proposition & the communication efforts. Most MNC Loyalty companies are being run by either expatriates or Indians with little or no experience of consumer marketing in India. Maybe as a logical sequence MNC’s will try & attract Indian marketers to crack the Indian market.
  2. Organized retail has low penetration in India. This impacts the largest “success criteria” for a coalition, the high frequency supermarket category. Consumers build points fastest with high frequency categories like supermarkets. But in India, organized Retail is less than 2-3 % of total retail spends. That makes it harder to effectively bring in a large number of smaller Retailers into a coalition program. Maybe the innovation required for India is that a consumer goods company leads such a Coalition & brings in its distribution muscle across small retail. Now that would be a game changer in India. Could such a venture be owned by a Unilever or an ITC? Or can the ultimate high frequency category, the newspaper pioneer this space in India. Imagine a Times of India led coalition!
  3. India needs many Coalitions but programs need to be far more focussed about consumer proposition. Coalition programs need to tap into a consumer need which is compelling & then build on that. Education & how it can potentially change the life of a young person could be one potential need that a program could tap into. Look at Upromise, it is an example, in the education niche, of the power of the coalition model. More than 10 million participants in the Upromise program aspire to improve on this compelling statistic – just 28% of Americans graduate from a 4-year university Fundamentally the logic of Loyalty marketing is that it is profitable! For Marketers in India to make this come alive, there needs to be far more innovation! Wish you a great 2014! Your comments & thoughts are valuable & please keep them coming.


Fundamentally the logic of Loyalty marketing is that it is profitable! For Marketers in India to make this come alive, there needs to be far more innovation!

Wish you a great 2014! Your comments & thoughts are valuable & please keep them coming.

Banking on Customer experience


Transforming The Retail Banking Customer Service Experience By Speaking With One Bank Customer at A Time is not easy & most banks would hesitate to make any drastic innovations in this space.

And this is why Umpqua bank excited me. Their Seattle branch lobby hotline invites customers to reach out directly to Umpqua Bank president Ray Davis. I cannot imagine this in any service organisation? Would a leader take this chance? Is Customer experience so important for leaders today? Is it more important for some industries vs others? Financial institutions also suffer from an overall trust deficit amongst consumers, doesn't that mean they must try harder!

1to1 marketing

And yet,consumer trust in the top 50 global financial institutions remained negative in the third quarter of 2013, according to a benchmarking index from Thomson Reuters measuring brand sentiment in both social and news media channels.

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Forrester Research recently asked senior bank executives whether they were meeting customer service needs better than competitors. Naturally, 60 percent said yes. Customers painted a different picture. Less than half (45 percent) believe that financial institutions are doing a good job of meeting their needs and only 10 percent said that the service was truly excellent

And yet, customer expectations have grown. Customers aren’t just comparing their banking experience to their other banking experiences. Now, they’re comparing it to their shopping experience at Apple, Amazon and any other company that has optimized not only the offer that is delivered but also the way that it is delivered. If you the see the numbers below, banking doesn't do well when compared with other industries

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Customers are increasingly saying that the experience provided by my bank is going to drive my bank of choice -my primary bank.

India is in the process of granting licenses to new banks. Would one of these new banks build an institution around a "diffrentiated customer experience"? Banks will have to work hard to diffrentiate themselves. If customer complaints are a metric, then Indian banks have a lot of work to do!

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And while only about one in five customers are taking their service issues to social media, according to the American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, among those customers 46 percent say they take to social media to vent frustration with a bad customer service experience. That’s free competitive research for you, if you care enough to listen to it.

Once you collect that data, and feed it into your CRM, the next step is to act quickly.

And it amazes me that banks are not transforming the way they do CRM. For years, companies have relied on their contact centres to deal with customer interactions, from statement information to requesting for a credit card. But contact centres need to evolve.They need to morph from being "transaction centres to becoming Relationship Hubs"

Driven by a shift in technology capabilities and consumer behaviour, leading companies can refocus contact centres from handling individual calls to building customer loyalty. But this needs a complete change in mindset. It also requires that banks powerfully leverage the data that they have to make 1to1 interactions happen at the Contact centre.These changes will morph contact centres into Relationship Hubs.

To do this banks have to think differently:

  1. Create a Customer experience roadmap. Don't let the practical limitations of existing processes , stop you in your tracks. 
  2. Bring your centralised Analytics function to participate in building a Customer Relationship hub. Leverage the rich information insight to drive a "intelligence to interaction" strategy. 
  3. Transform your Marketing function with the "To service is to Sell" philosophy by integrating Service based thinking with Event triggered marketing.
  4. Ask Marketing to work with the CIO to create a Technology backbone to this Customer experience strategy.

Bringing customers into the boardroom


 Do company boards get as involved in marketing as they need to? Can they afford not to? Are companies wasting Marketing money in their never ending quest for new customers? Shouldn’t the company’s board lead the journey towards “finding products for customers” (customer centricity) rather than limiting the company to only look at “finding customers for products” (product centricity)( comment from Don Peppers).

Gail J. McGovern, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, says that “Organizations take their cues from the top. When the board turns its attention to the company’s customers, the entire organization will become more market driven, more customer-centric, and more focused on generating organic growth”.


HP has transitioned their CMO, Marty Homlish, and fitted him into a new role of “Chief Customer Experience Officer”. This role will focus on driving more consistent and high-value interactions with customers across all business units.

All over the world, more customers are feeling discomfort about how companies treat them. They experience bad service, complex products & they are shocked by hidden costs. And yet Customer centricity as a theme is much talked about in the corporate world. So is Customer centricity more about lip service than reality. Do Companies talk about it but rarely put it in practise. Or are there some companies who genuinely are making an effort to be far more customer centric. Are some industries better at it, think Apple, Disney & others notoriously bad, think banks! Being Customer centric should be the means & not the end. After all eventually companies want to profit from engaged & satisfied customers.

And yet Customer centricity does deliver results. HBS professor Ranjay Gulati has deeply researched this issue. Customer-centric companies tracked by Gulati between 2001 and 2007 delivered shareholder returns of 150 percent while the S&P 500 delivered 14 percent. Gulati focuses on what he calls the “outside in” perspective. An outside-in perspective means that companies aim to creatively deliver something of value to customers, rather than focus simply on products and sales

What does Customer centricity mean to you? I would love to have your feedback. Here is what I feel:

  1. Being loyal to customers & not the other way around (customers needing to be loyal to the company). This needs companies to have a longer term view of customer lifetime value & not a short term view of immediate profit. It needs an internal senior level stakeholder who champions the customer cause (CMO?)
  2. Become more accessible to customers & respond faster to their needs. This needs companies to move from “insight to action”. To act faster, companies need to break silos within their organisation to be able to respond to customers.
  3. Use information to make every interaction relevant & use customer data to more powerfully personalise company’s interactions with the customer. The Big data world is only producing more such information for marketers to leverage. This amounts to a mass customisation strategy where the CIO & CMO need to work very closely together to make meaningful changes in the company’s operating environment. And most critically, to do this keeping the customers sensitivity to privacy as paramount!

Analytics: Sexy industry & boring stories!


Analytics and data are transforming companies around the world. Yet one of the great difficulties with analytics is that it can be difficult to explain and understand; it is widely held that analytics specialists don’t communicate well with decision makers, and vice-versa. 

As a result, analytics adoption is still not easy within companies. Analysts, at one end, are busy learning more specialised & deeply technical methods of analysing data & at the same time they are finding it difficult to get theses stories “heard” within organisations. Influencing ultimate decision makers is similar to selling products or services to external customers. Analysts need to understand that when they present ideas to decision makers, it is their responsibility to sell – not the decision maker’s responsibility to buy

Stories are the best way to influence! But we don’t see them being used so often. Analytics doesn’t need you to solve only a technical problem but a “social” one. Analytics is sexy but for it to make an impact, it needs to be embedded into the fabric of the company. This calls for analysts to become more social & in fact better presenters & story tellers. They need to learn to demystify analytics & link it to practical ways for the business to make money! And analysts need to learn to link their work to “the last mile”. Analytics should not be expected to deliver a “Aha moment”, instead it should be a “factory approach to improved decisions”. So analytics is not just a planning tool as much as it is an Execution tool to improve the customer experience & business impact. Start with a decision in mind & work backwards, not with the data in mind & working forward

Compare the analytics industry with the world of journalism. One of the most deadline filled industries in the world is getting it right with what it calls precision journalism! Despite crazy deadlines, I am amazed at the powerful stories journalists write using data. I wish the analytics industry was half way as good!!

Here is an example from the New York times:

jobless rate

I can relate to the data above by filtering it to my exact demographic. Suddenly a dry topic like Jobless rates for the economy as a whole, becomes far more real & human to me.

The corporate world needs to learn from this & use data to tell stories better! Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium

Analysts are often tempted to communicate how they did the analysis: “First we removed the outliers from the data, then we did a logarithmic transformation; that created high autocorrelation, so we created a one-year lag variable”—& the typical business user is already yawning! The audiences for analytical results don’t really care what process you followed; they only care about results and implications

Here is an example of a master storyteller. Hans Rosling, a Swedish professor, popularized this approach with his frequently viewed TED Talk that used visual analytics to show the changing population health relationships between developed and developing nations over time. Rosling has created a website called Gapminder ( that displays many of these types of interactive visual analytics

In early 2010, The New York Times was given access to Netflix’s normally private records of what areas rent which movies the most often. The Times created an engaging interactive database that let users browse the top 100-ranked rentals in 12 US metro areas, broken down to the postal code level. A colour-graded “heatmap” overlaid on each community enabled users to quickly scan and see where a particular title was most popular.

Analytics needs journalists within their community to help make the data human!

Look at the Netflix inforgraphic here:

Marketing turns left, gets counted!


CMO’s are going through turbulent times. According to a recent Accenture report, more than 70% of marketers in B2C, B2B2C and significant-growth companies feel this way. Marketers in APAC feel even stronger (85%).

Traditional skills that CMO's have are important but a new breed of Technology skills are gaining currency!

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Till recently, when we spoke about Data based marketing, it always seemed to be a niche with most marketers doing it as an “add on” to the big marketing jobs consisting of Advertising & promotions. Data based marketers seemed to be these very passionate people with comparatively little impact in the bigger scheme of things. Also data seemed to be more important in some industries, banking & telecom as against others like FMCG! But it is interesting how this world is changing! And the changes are not only driving a larger “data orientation” amongst marketers, it is also driving a fundamental change on how Marketing can contribute to Revenue generation. I have written a short piece on this here : Marketing turns Left

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Online space. Google is an amazing example. In 2009, Google ran 12,000 experiments. Their chief economist, Hal Varian, has praised controlled experimentation as “the gold standard” for understanding cause-and-effect. But it’s not just the number of experiments they run that is impressive. Out of those 12,000 experiments that Google ran, only about 10% of them resulted in the tested change being adopted into their business. So 90% of the experiments they tried, didn’t “succeed.” This reveals Google’s true cultural differentiation — they’re willing to try a large number of ideas and be okay with failure. Surprising that in the physical world, you have far fewer examples of this with Capital One being a huge exception. Capital One is a bank built on intelligent experimentation & learning from experience.

In contrast, embracing continuous experimentation enables what David Armano has called unconventional marketing. Test new ideas on a small scale, measure and improve them in a succession of rapid iterations, learn from experience, and then create a “bigger bang” with the winner ideas.

unconventional marketing


So what does all this mean to the CMO. Rapid change from the earlier ways of marketing, for sure. How does the CMO adapt to this & in fact then become a "Change Agent" within her company to make such a marketing transformation happen? 

Scott Brinker had this wonderful insight:

"First, the core conundrum of accelerating change is this: advances in technology — marketing technology as subset of that — seem to grow in an exponential fashion (i.e., Moore’s Law), but the ability for individuals and organizations to absorb those new capabilities is limited by a much slower human adoption curve. The tension between these two dynamics is clearly going to be the organizational dilemma of the 21st century".

Martec’s Law:
Technology changes exponentially; organizations change logarithmically.

It’s why the role of “change agent” may ultimately be the most important hat for marketers to wear.

exp log graph

CMO's will have an interesting time being the flag bearers of this change. Interestingly, they will have to hugely leverage technology to drive such a transformation. 





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